There had been conflicting reports about James Harden’s decision to opt-in to his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 basketball season. It had been widely assumed that the Philadelphia 76ers had worked all that out with Harden ahead of last week’s blockbuster trade.
The Sixers didn’t give up a king’s ransom to rent Harden for half the year, right? Yes and no. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania (via Real GM), Harden filed his paperwork but “missed the buzzer for the opt-in.” His intention is to opt-in and then sign then sign a four-year, $223 million extension on top of that this summer. It’s only a verbal agreement at this point, though.
“They ended up not filing the paperwork in time so a little bit of a procedural situation with the paperwork,” Charania told The Real Ones podcast. “We’ll see what happens. I think the opt-in, obviously, will play itself out. I still think the intent is to opt-in.”
UPDATE: Harden confirmed he did indeed file the paperwork late during his Sixers’ introductory press conference on Tuesday. He has yet to “opt-in” for the 2022-23 season.
“It’s James Harden,” Sixers center Joel Embiid said after the trade. You add someone like that, your chances to win a championship are even bigger. I’m just excited to get on with it and try to figure it out, how to put it all together as a team, and go from there.”
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Seth Curry, Andre Drummond Make Nets Debut
It was a big day in Brooklyn on Monday after Ben Simmons made his first appearance in a Nets uniform. No, the three-time All-Star didn’t see game action but he was a limited participant at practice as the team ramps him up in what they are calling “Return to Competition Reconditioning.” His mental health issues have amazingly vanished.
Meanwhile, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond did take the court for the Nets and helped snapped an 11-game losing streak. Curry was magnificent and scored a team-high 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Drummond fell one rebound shy of a double-double with 11 points and nine boards. Brooklyn defeated the Sacramento Kings 109-85. There is still no timetable for when Simmons may make his debut.
“It’s gonna be a lot of fun to play,” Curry said, via CBS Sports. “It’s been a while since I got up and down the floor like that, play with that kind of pace even in the half-court. We’re gonna be a tough team down the stretch when everybody gets healthy. I’m looking forward to it.”
Harden Practices with New Team
Harden participated in his first Sixers’ practice on Monday and reporters watched his every move. His jumper looked crisp as he moved pretty nimbly on his tight left hamstring. He didn’t look 100% healthy but close. Very close.
“We didn’t do anything live, but we did all the skeleton work,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. “All the defensive walkthrough stuff, all the shooting, did everything everybody else did. Obviously, he’s a high IQ basketball player.”